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Detroit musician Sixto Rodriguez to get honorary WSU degree

April 18, 2013

Wayne State University will bestow an honorary degree next month on Sixto Rodriguez, the Detroit folk musician who finally found fame after he was profiled in the Oscar-winning documentary "Searching for Sugarman." "A lot of people at Wayne are inspired by his story, his work ethic and humbleness, not to mention the songwriting," said Matt Lockwood, WSU spokesman. "He graduated from Wayne and lives not too far from campus. We know he is a proud alumni and Detroiter. It made a lot of sense to give him this honor." In the 1970s, he was an iconic rock star in South Africa but never knew it. His albums flopped in the United States but evolved into the soundtrack of many South Africans' lives during apartheid because of his anti-establishment lyrics. The 2012 documentary chronicles the search for Rodriguez, who was thought to be dead, but was found living in Detroit. He has since appeared on "60 Minutes," performed on "The "Late Show with David Letterman" and is touring in places such as Wales, Australia, Spain, France and many U.S. cities, including Detroit next month. Rodriguez graduated from WSU in 1981 with a philosophy degree. He will receive a Doctor of Humane Letters from WSU on May 9 at the 10 a.m. commencement ceremony. At a second ceremony at 4 p.m. that day, WSU will give an honorary degree to Walter Douglas Sr., who has been involved in many entrepreneurial activities in Detroit and sits on boards throughout the community.